Whistleblowing




One of the policies and procedures a new home care business must have is the  Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure.

Below is the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure used by Quality Home Care which you are welcome to adapt to suit your own business needs. You can use it as a starting point to develop your own Whistleblowing  Policy and Procedure.

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WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY

Policy

Quality Home Care is committed to promoting a transparent culture within the company as well as the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, we will ensure that staff are encouraged and enabled to raise concerns about colleagues irrespective of seniority, rank or status within the company to ensure that all our customers and members of their household are protected from harm because of poor practice or through abuse of any staff member’s position.  Quality Home Care will unequivocally guarantee that staff who raise concerns responsibly and reasonably will be protected against victimisation and all concerns raised treated confidentially.

The official name for whistleblowing is ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’, however it is much more commonly called ‘blowing the whistle’ or ‘whistleblowing’. It means that if a person believes there is wrongdoing in the workplace they can report this by following the correct processes, and their employment rights are protected.





Investigations into incidents have that very often these incidents happened through years of poor practice which staff members were too scared to speak up about and raise their concerns for fear of losing their job or being discriminated against and labelled a trouble maker.

If an employee decides to blow the whistle they are protected and the employer cannot victimise them (eg by not offering a promotion or other opportunities the employer would have otherwise offered). Whistleblowers are protected for public interest, to encourage people to speak out if they find malpractice in the workplace. Malpractice could be improper, illegal or negligent behaviour by anyone in the workplace.

Quality Home Care managers and directors must ensure all staff members are aware of their individual responsibility in ensuring customers receive the standard of care they deserve and that they understand the need to ‘whistleblow’ to protect customers and colleagues from the negative effects of poor practice.

This policy aims to inform staff of when and how to raise concerns, to whom and who they can also raise report their concerns if they are dissatisfied with the company’s response.

Concerns may be about something that:

  • Is unlawful, or
  • Is contrary to Quality Home Care Policies and Procedures
  • Falls below established standards or practice
  • Amounts to improper conduct





For example (this list is not exhaustive)

  • Malpractice or ill treatment of a customer or a member of their household
  • A criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed
  • Suspected fraud
  • Disregard for legislation, particularly in relation to health & safety at work
  • Breach of financial arrangements
  • A breach of the code of conduct or policies and procedures of Quality Home Care
  • Information on any of the above which has been, is being or is likely to be concealed

The decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make but the overarching concern should be that the malpractice needs to be corrected in the interest and safety of all our customers. The earlier a staff member raises their concerns the easier it is to take action.

Whistleblowing Procedure

  • Any member of staff who has concerns about a colleague’s or health professional’s behaviour or practice, regardless of their position within the company must in the first instance report this to the manager.
  • In the event that the concern(s) relate to the manager, they should report them to a director of the company.
  • The manager or director must take any concerns or allegations of malpractice seriously and commence an investigation where appropriate.
  • The manager or director must respond in a sensitive, confidential and empathetic manner to the employee and provide the necessary reassurance.
  • The person reporting their concerns can do so in the first instance verbally, face to face, by telephone or in writing giving details regarding the nature of their concerns. This may include the history of their concern, names, dates and places where possible and the reason why they are concerned about the situation.
  • In the event that an employee does not wish to discuss this with the manager (or their line manager), they can raise their concerns with a more senior member of staff and ultimately the director of the company.
  • The manager or director must take any concerns or allegations of malpractice seriously and commence an investigation where appropriate.
  • The manager or director must respond in a sensitive, confidential and empathetic manner to the employee and provide the necessary reassurance.
  • Any staff member raising concerns responsibly and reasonably will be protected from victimisation. Allegations must be made in good faith and there will be no consequences to staff if their concerns are not confirmed by an investigation. If, however, staff make malicious allegations then disciplinary action may be taken against them.
  • Staff can report concerns anonymously but these are much less powerful so best practice is for concerns to be raised personally.  Quality Home Care will do its best to protect a staff member’s identity when they raise a concern and do not want their name disclosed. However during the process of an investigation this information may be revealed and a statement by the staff member may be required as part of the evidence.
  • On receipt of an allegation of malpractice the registered manager must inform the director in the first instance.

Action to be taken will depend on the nature of the concern and may:

 

  • Be resolved by agreed action and without the need for an investigation
  • Be investigated internally
  • Be referred under the Safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Be reported to the regulator
  • Be reported to the police

Staff members who have reported concerns of malpractice will be kept informed of any actions taken as a result of their report and will receive a written letter from the registered manager or director within ten working days indicating:

  1. That any investigation will be carried out in the strictest confidence
  2. Acknowledgement that an investigation will be carried out
  3. Indicating how the registered manager or director proposes to deal with the matter
  4. An estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response
  5. Informing them if any initial enquiries have been made
  6. Informing them if any further enquiries have to be made and if not, why not
  7. Informing them when the investigation has been completed. It may not be possible to inform them of its findings as this could be seen as gross invasion of someone’s privacy

The staff member may be required to provide clarity of the information provided depending on the nature of the issues raised and should they be required to attend any meetings they have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague not involved in the area of work to which the concern relates.

Any information obtained must be recorded accurately and also state clearly any outcomes but must not endanger staff confidentiality.

When the investigation is completed the registered manager must act on any negative findings appropriately and follow any recommendations made by an outside party to ensure better outcomes for customers and staff.

In the event of staff having concerns about malpractice of the management team then they should raise their concerns with the regulator at:

  • Care Quality Commission National Correspondence, Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4PA, Telephone: 03000 616161, Fax: 03000 616171

Employees may also find advice and guidance from:

www.whistleblowing.org.uk

Telephone 020 7404 6609